"I rarely lose my temper, and only then when someone talks down to me,
or when I see people treating other people with disrespect."
Sandra Bullock [emphasis added by me]
Many posts to various lists from time to time reference disrespect shown to textile artists – primarily in terms of the way textile art is returned from venues (e.g. crammed into too small boxes; box being poorly sealed; etc.), the way textile art is sometimes displayed at venues, and the lack of security at some venues which has allowed the artwork to be stolen, mutilated (in one instance a piece was slashed to steal an antique button), or fingered. This is aside from the general lack of respect for the medium itself that often is encountered.
While all of these and similar incidences are distressing, it is the utter lack of respect that textile artists sometimes display toward each other that I find to be particularly disturbing. A recent occurrence provides a good example of this.
The venue for a highly publicized and critically acclaimed exhibit held a reception that was attended by 65 of the artists (who flew in from all over the country) as well as by more than 600 guests. The energy and excitement was palpable.
What is unbelievable is that several of the artists brought with them to the reception work that they had created for a totally unrelated exhibit and had the audacity as well as the unmitigated gall to proceed to display them on the floor of the exhibit space. This not only: 1) blocked access to the artwork that was legitimately part of the exhibition; 2) intentionally deflected attention away from the art that viewers came to see; but also 3) confused viewers because the subject matter clearly did not relate to the theme of the exhibition.
The brazenness and absolute arrogance with which this occurred is astounding (those extra quilts clearly did not bring themselves to the exhibit, they did not position themselves in the exhibit space, and no permission to do so was sought). The impertinence of it all and the contempt this action expressed toward the museum, the artwork on exhibit, the other artists and the curator is reprehensible. How low can you sink? How self-serving and narcissistic can you be? How pathetic is the need to stroke one’s own ego at the expense of fellow artists?
What possible rationale could these offenders offer that would justify this offensive and discourteous behavior? From my perspective, there is none. What I wonder is if such a cavalier attitude would have been displayed if the exhibit venue had been…
- The Renwick or Quilt National?
- The High Museum or the National Quilt Museum?
- The Museum of Modern Art or the International Quilt Study Center and Museum?
- The Museum of Arts and Design or the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles?
- The Philadelphia Museum of Art or the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum?
I still find myself in the throes of utter disbelief that this occurred. Not only was it highly offensive to all parties affected, it was extremely unprofessional.
I believe that quite a few people are owed a sincere and abject apology.